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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Fred “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez lived up to his name, outsprinting the field in Chattanooga, Tenn., to win the U.S. Professional Road Race Championship.

fred-rIt was Rodriguez’s fourth national championship and the second for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda. In 2004, Jonas Carney won the criterium championship while riding for the Bean Team.

“This was a huge win for our team,” said Jelly Belly p/b Kenda director Danny Van Haute. “We made a plan and it worked. Everybody had a job to do and they did it.”

In the time trial championship, Ian Burnett placed 11th and Ben Wolfe — at just 19 years old — finished 15th.

“Both riders rode their best. This was the first time in team history that we placed two riders in the top 15,” Van Haute said.

In the road race, Rodriguez battled over Lookout Mountain and fended off a late challenge from Phil Gaimon of Bissell to win the championship in a thrilling field sprint.

Said Van Haute: “I am so proud of Freddie, the team and the organization.”

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda rider Alex Hagman recently visited a school in Fort Collins, Colo. He sent this note:


This was a really fun school visit. We had about 50 to 60 students at the IB Lesher Middle School, here in Fort Collins.

Georgia Gould (Bronze Mountain Bike Olympian, and multi-time national champion) was there as well. It was awesome. The kids were super engaging and this went really far for our community. I gave the teachers some Beans to give out during the rest of the week however the saw fit. They’re going to have a bunch of hyper kids on bikes running around! 🙂

Thanks y’all,

The Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by Kenda has signed three-time U.S. National Champion and seven-time Tour de France rider Fred Rodriguez, it was announced today.

“We’re more than excited to obtain Fred Rodriguez and have him part of the team for the remainder of the season,” said team General Manager and Director Danny Van Haute. “Fred’s experience and leadership will be a huge asset for Team Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, not to mention he’s a great bike rider who will no doubt garner great results.”

Rodriguez raced for the now defunct Exergy team last season and showed well at major U.S. races like the Amgen Tour of California and USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, notching several top 10-stage placings.

“After dialogue with several teams, I decided Jelly Belly was a good fit,” said Rodriguez. “There are a lot of things this team does both on and off the bike that makes sense for me at this stage of my career.  The team has been a staple of American racing for more than a decade and I admire that stability. Plus, Jelly Belly Candy Company is a great company with great values to support.”

Van Haute added that Rodriguez had impressed him in recent races, and, coupled with his character and business approach, were an intriguing mix for both Jelly Belly and his team. He noted that along with current sprinter Brad Huff, the squad has a strong one-two punch in fast finishes.

The 39-year-old Rodriguez, who resides in Berkeley, said he’s been rejuvenated in recent years after racing his early career primarily in Europe.  He said he hopes to show well in major North American races Jelly Belly competes, beginning with the U.S.A. Cycling National Championships for road race later this month in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Nicknamed “Fast Freddie”, Rodriguez’s professional career spans more than 15 years. His career highlights include three U.S. professional road race wins in 2000, 2001, and 2004; stage wins in big European stageraces: Tour of Luxembourg, Tour of Switzerland and Tour of Italy.  He has won sprint points jerseys in the Tour of Switzerland and twice in the Tour de Georgia, at one time the largest American stage race. He was the long-time lead-out man for Aussie sprinter Robbie McEwen who amassed 12 Tour de France stage wins, many thanks to Rodriguez’s work.

Rodriguez also has many business interests, including his inaugural Fast Freddie Gran Fondo, scheduled for August 17, 2013, in Berkley.  Go to

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda rider Nic Hamilton sent this report after the Tour of the Gila.

More often than not our race programs involve stacked races in a variety of locations which all coincide in one single trip from home. This can make packing a challenge as the weather in North America can fluctuate dramatically from one region to another. Having packed an entire line of Ironclad gloves and Pactimo clothing, suitable for anything from the coldest wintery weather to full-blown summer desert heat, I was pleased that the Tour of the Gila arrived with a great forecast.

It turned out that we had little need for our cold weather gear and didn’t need to make any trips back to the car during the race to get the “rain bag.”

Photo by Brian Hodes

Photo by Brian Hodes

While the weather cooperated marvelously, there was no changing the altitude factor. The most challenging aspect of racing the Tour of the Gila is coping with the lower pressure up in the high desert. Nutrition, hydration, race strategy, sleeping and recovery are all dramatically affected and whoever can deal with it the best comes out on top. The five-day race featured a dynamic range of events including three road stages, a downtown crit, and a challenging time trial course. With such variety in the stages our mechanics were pumped to have 3T wheels onboard; the Mercurio 40 carbon race wheelset was light enough for the first day’s Cat 1 mountain finish and extremely aerodynamic and strong for the big power sprints in the crit and rolling breakaway. One wheel, any conditions — the fewer decisions athletes need to make the better.

Photo by Brian Hodes

Photo by Brian Hodes

We stayed safe throughout the race, always keeping close to each other and near the front, and it paid off well as the first few days saw some carnage on the road. The non-altitude guys were the helpers for the tour and kept those on the squad who were acclimated and ready to climb sheltered and fueled. The most notable ride of the tour was Serghei Tvetcov finishing in the top ten on the queen stage, the Gila Monster, among some of the best climbers in North America.

Our lives were made much easier throughout the tour as we were staying in a massive 1800s home only two blocks from the heart of Silver City. The house itself showed the character of the region with adobe style walls, several courtyards, and great gardens throughout the property. It was large enough to sleep 10 people and the kitchen was up to the test of pumping out some gourmet and extremely healthy meals. What a difference home-cooked food makes on the road! We were so thankful to have the option to choose our own menu and have a few “tastes of home” which are often lost when traveling.

Photo by Brian Hodes

Photo by Brian Hodes

The proximity to all the races allowed us to ride to and from most stages, which again, made an enormous difference. Thank you to the great hosts we had in Silver City and Mel at the Three Dogs Café who took great care of our caffeine and dessert needs. Silver City was a town full of smiles, warmth, and unique culture – something that was not lost on us. Many of us are already talking about coming back to train and all of us are certainly keen to return next year and have another crack at the top step in New Mexico.

Thanks for reading and look for the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team in St. Louis, Missouri next weekend for the Tour de Grove.